It hit me the other day that I’ve basically exceeded all plans, ideas, goals, expectations – whatever you want to call them – about my freelance writing career.
Having fallen into the industry several years ago, I’ve continually developed. Reading an excessive amount of blogs, taking as much advice as I could get and ensuring I’ve alway been writing, I’ll be the first to admit it has been a pain in the backside at times, but it has made for a couple of interesting years.
And arguably most importantly, it has got me to where I am today, a SEO Specialist for a burgeoning digital media agency, with a considerably strong focus on unique, high quality content.
With my role comes the opportunity to hire freelance writers. It’s a little strange, actually – I’m now in the scenario I was in just a few years ago, just rather than being the writer looking for work, I’m the agency looking for a writer.
Giving me the opportunity to speak to an array of different writers, I’ve come to realise that in one hand, I’m looking for specific qualities in a writer, but in another I’m not looking for anything that I personally believe is unusual.
So, what is it that I’m actually after in a freelance writer?
First thing’s first – they need to be able to write.
This may sound like a really, really (really!) basic and obvious point, but you’d be surprised at how many ‘writers’ I talk to who don’t seem to have a grip of standard grammar.
OK, they may have sent me a draft file by mistake, but that leads me into my second point perfectly – I want a writer who’s going to take pride in their work.
I don’t want someone who’s going to just write everything I need them to in 10 minutes. I know as much as they do that it’s going to be littered with errors if they do.
Sure, getting paid is important and the quicker the work gets done, the quicker you’ll get paid, but think of the long term – deliver quality work that you’re proud of and I’ll have zero reason to look elsewhere.
Something else I’m finding is important is having a basic understanding of SEO.
In today’s world, I strongly believe all writers need to understand, at the very least, the basics of search engine optimisation.
I’m not asking for writers to be able to hold an in-depth conversation about the latest techniques and practices, but an understanding of the importance of title tags when using links, for example, wouldn’t go a miss at all.
Oh and an ability to follow instructions would be hugely appreciated.
Again, this might sound obvious, but if I’m looking for a blog post that’s at least 400 words long, please make sure it is. Similarly, if I need to have an exact phrase included within the copy, don’t change it to suit your writing – change your writing to suit the phrase.
In all honestly, it’s a bit weird being in the position I’m in now, but it’s good as it means I can help writers grow and develop by looking at both sides of the coin.
It is important to understand that the qualities I’m looking for are for a writer in my current position and aren’t necessarily universal – but saying that, I genuinely believe the points here would help any writer secure new gigs, no matter who they were looking to work with, as at the end of the day, it all simply comes back to delivering the highest quality service as a writer that you possibly can.